n South African Medical Journal - Utility of the Robson Ten Group Classification System to determine appropriateness of caesarean section at a rural regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : research

Volume 105, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



High caesarean section (CS) rates are not only costly but associated with significant perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality. It has recently been suggested that structured auditing of CSs may identify those groups in the obstetric population that contribute substantially to the high rates and for which focused interventions may bring about change.

To evaluate the utility of the Robson Ten Group Classification System (RTGCS) in determining appropriateness of CS at a regional rural hospital in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.
A retrospective review of the hospital records of women delivered by CS over a 3-month period was performed. The RTGCS was used to categorise women according to parity, age, past obstetric history, singleton or multiple pregnancy, fetal presentation, gestational age and mode of onset of labour/delivery.
There were 2 553 hospital births over the 3-month study period. The CS rate was 42.4% (1 082/2 553). According to the RTGCS, groups 1 (=296, 27.4%), 5 (=186, 17.2%) and 10 (=253, 23.4%) were substantial contributors to the overall CS rate. The main indications for CS were fetal distress (36.5%) and cephalopelvic disproportion (26.8%).
The RTGCS is a useful tool with which to identify patient groups warranting interventions to reduce high CS rates in a rural regional hospital setting. Group 1 (nullipara: single cephalic term pregnancy; spontaneous labour) warrants the most attention. Applying stricter criteria and due diligence in decision-making for primary CS may decrease the high CS rates.

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